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Tenant Eviction in Hong Kong

Tenant Eviction in Hong Kong

Updated on Friday 21st May 2021

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Tenant-Eviction-in-Hong-Kong.jpgProperty owners who are faced with tenant eviction in Hong Kong can proceed by observing the current laws in force and also the rights of the tenant.
 
The law governing property lease in Hong Kong, as well as the relationship between the landlord and the tenant,  is the Landlord and Tenant (Consolidation) Ordinance. However, the two signatory parties are free to determine their own terms of lease and tenancy, as long as they do not infringe the laws in force, especially those in the aforementioned Ordinance. 
 
Signing a tenancy agreement in Hong Kong is a step that allows both parties to handle whatever issues may arise during the course of the tenancy. When properly and lawfully designed, the agreement protects both parties and allows them to settle any issues accordingly.
 
The experts at our Hong Kong law firm can help you with legal counseling and advice in any case involving the eviction of one or more tenants. You can reach out to our lawyers before you decide to sign the agreement or if you are a landlord who requires legal aid to draft a standard form of a tenancy agreement HK
 
This article briefly states the duties and liabilities of the tenant and the landlord as well as several situations that apply to tenants in respect to public housing. Please feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions.
 
The experts at our Hong Kong law firm can help you with legal counseling and advice in any case involving the eviction of one or more tenants. 
 

Landlord and tenant relationship in Hong Kong

 
The tenancy agreement in Hong Kong should include all of the terms for the occupation of the rented space. This includes the length of tenancy, payment amount and period, initial deposit and the scope of the use (for office purposes, residential or otherwise).
 
The termination of a tenancy agreement in Hong Kong takes place upon the expiration of the agreement. The parties do not need to send a notice of termination. In case of any disagreements or if one of the parties breaks a clause in the agreement, both the tenant and the landlord have the right to terminate the tenancy early, by agreement.
 
The tenancy agreement HK may be terminated unilaterally only if the contract contains a break clause. One of our lawyers in Hong Kong can help you include this type of clause in the agreement.
 

Grounds for eviction in Hong Kong

 
The landlord may terminate the agreement and even order the eviction of the tenant if:
- the tenant does not pay the rent within a pre-determined due date;
- uses the premises for illegal purposes;
- causes disturbances;
- alters the premises without the landlord’s consent.
 
Drafting a tenancy agreement in Hong Kong that includes specific clauses for eviction is thus important from the very beginning. Both parties need to enter into an agreement that will clearly state the manner in which disagreements will be handled and that will allow for the prevention of abuse. In general, when the duration of the occupation is under three years, the parties will sign a tenancy agreement, while in other cases a lease is required according to law. Our attorneys can give you more information on this provision, as stipulated in the Conveyancing and Property Ordinance.
 
In cases where the tenant refuses to leave the premises after the expiration date of the tenancy agreement, the landlord has the right to notify the Lands Tribunal. One of our attorneys in Hong Kong can help you follow the legal steps if the tenant refuses to leave.
 

The tenants purchase scheme and public housing for tenants in Hong Kong

 
The Hong Kong tenancy law also includes a provision for tenants who live in a public housing estate under the Hong Kong Housing Authority. For those who have this option, buying their home can be suitable after some time. Those who wish to do so can enjoy the following:
 
  1. Special credit: depending on the date on which they decide to purchase the property, they can benefit from deductions, however, no credit is awarded after the second year of tenancy;
  2. Maintenance: repairs are carried out prior to the sale and the Housing Authority offers a structural safety guarantee of 7 years;
  3. Management: owners can form an owners’ corporation that will be used for estate management issues;
  4. Others: a safety net is offered for owners under the tenants purchase scheme which can be accessed should the owner has sudden changes in his circumstances (certain conditions do apply and social welfare verifications can also take place).
 
The law regulates the manner in which an individual may benefit from public housing. Tenant eviction from these premises is possible when:
 
  • the individual does not maintain regular and continuous residence in the said premises for more than three months;
  • he decides to sublet, with or without income;
  • he engages in illegal activities or uses the public housing for non-domestic use;
  • obtains the property under false statements (false income or asset declarations or false marital status declarations, among others).
 
Our team of lawyers can give you more details on the Hong Kong tenancy law and how this applies to tenants living in public housing as opposed to private one. We can also give you details if you are fearing eviction in either of these cases.
 

Housing and living in Hong Kong

 
A 2016 census, performed under the Government of Hong Kong, reveals much about the population and, more importantly, the residence patterns and particularities in the Special Administrative Region. Our team highlights some of the findings below:
  • types of houses: private residential flats made up 46% of all the occupied quarters in 2016;
  • private vs. state housing: 53.2% of the population lived in private permanent housing the same year;
  • increased number of tenants: the number of sole tenants rose from 43% in 2006 to 46.8% in 2016;
  • others: subletting and co-letting became less popular over the same ten-year period;
 
The median monthly rent in Hong Kong varies and according to the Housing and Transport Bureau, the average monthly rent for private permanent housing for flats under 70 m2 was 425 HK$/m2 in 2020 in Hong Kong Island, the highest rate of the three territories (the same source cites a rent of 345 HK$/m2 for Kowloon and a 263 HK$/m2rent for the New Territories).
 
For the purpose of the statistics and the date presented by the Housing and Transport Bureau a distinction is made between public permanent housing in Hong Kong (offered by the Hong Kong Housing Authority or under the Senior Citizen Residences Scheme, among others), subsidized sale flats and private permanent housing. Our team can give you more details on how these types of housing are covered by the Hong Kong tenancy law.
 
For more information on the landlord and tenant rights in Hong Kong please do not hesitate to contact our Hong Kong law firm.